Using naturalistic paradigms to study the influence of visual perspective during retrieval on subsequent accuracy for memory of events

Marcotti, Petra (2020) Using naturalistic paradigms to study the influence of visual perspective during retrieval on subsequent accuracy for memory of events. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Memories for events can be naturally experienced from different visual perspectives, but we can also deliberately shift from an own eyes perspective to a novel perspective when we see ourselves from an observer viewpoint in the remembered event. Previous research has shown that actively shifting to a novel perspective during retrieval influences the subjective experience associated with the original event but can also affect the content of memories and that these effects can even persist in subsequent memories. However, what still remains to be addressed is whether actively shifting visual perspective also contributes to more persistent changes in other properties of memories, such as their accuracy. To examine this, in this thesis I developed novel paradigms and methodologies to investigate the manipulation of visual perspective during retrieval of complex events encoded in the laboratory. In Chapter 1, I reviewed the current state of knowledge on how visual perspective contributes to changes in memories and proposed how naturalistic paradigms can provide the tools to manipulate visual perspective and study memory accuracy in the laboratory. In Chapter 2, I present two studies using a series of rich, engaging, and complex “mini-events” to examine the influence of shifting perspective during retrieval, when cued with photographs taken from different perspectives (study 1) and when the photo cues are removed (study 2), on subsequent memory accuracy for different memory details specific to the mini-events. Across both studies, I found that shifting visual perspective during retrieval reduced the accuracy of subsequent memories and demonstrated that these changes were predicted by reductions in subjective reports of vividness when actively shifting perspective. In Chapter 3, I used a similar paradigm and found that the presence of the physical self when cueing the observer perspective changed the visual perspective from which memories were later experienced. I also examined whether shifting perspective during retrieval affected egocentric and allocentric aspects of memory and found that it contributes to changes in egocentric representation, such that it reduced egocentric accuracy of subsequent memories, but not allocentric accuracy. In Chapter 4, I developed a novel paradigm using immersive 360-degree videos of everyday life events to better control the point of view of encoding and retrieval; this allowed me to investigate for the first time how actively shifting to different viewpoints during retrieval might contribute to changes in subsequent perspective that extend beyond subjective reports of the visual perspective experienced, such as its accuracy. By directly comparing actively shifting to a novel viewpoint to shifting back towards the encoding viewpoint, I demonstrated that it is the novelty of the shift in perspective that contributes to changes in the phenomenological properties of memories, and that active shifts in perspective can alter the accuracy with which visual perspective is later remembered. In sum, this thesis demonstrates how shifting visual perspective during retrieval modifies subsequent memory accuracy for complex and immersive events encoded in a controlled laboratory setting. In Chapter 5, I will discuss the contributions of these findings to the wider literature, highlight the importance of using naturalistic paradigms to examine the role of perspective on memory, and propose how future research could extend and address some theoretical and methodological questions that this thesis raises.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0231 Sensation. Aesthesiology > BF0241 Special senses. Vision. Visual perception
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0311 Consciousness. Cognition > BF0365 Association and reproduction of ideas > BF0370 Memory
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2020 10:25
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 12:31

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